Mulhall, Michael George (DNB01)

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MULHALL, MICHAEL GEORGE (1836–1900), statistical compiler, third son of Thomas Mulhall of St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, was born at 100 Stephen's Green on 29 Sept. 1836. He was educated at the Irish College, Rome, went out to South America, and founded in 1861 the Buenos Ayres ' Standard,' said to be the first daily paper in English to be printed in that continent. As a journalistic venture it was daring, but success was the ultimate reward, and Mulhall did not finally abandon his connection with the enterprise until 1894, making frequent journeys between Buenos Ayres and the British Isles. In 1869 Mulhall issued the first English book printed in Argentina, a 'Handbook of the River Plate,' which went through six editions. In 1873 he published in London 'Rio Grande do Sul and its German Colonies,' which was followed in 1878 by 'The English in South America' (Buenos Ayres, 8vo). For some years previous to this Mulhall, who had a large European correspondence, had been collecting materials with a view to a survey of the whole field of his favourite study, statistics. In 1880 he brought out his 'Progress of the World in Arts, Agriculture, Commerce, Manufactures, Instruction, Railways, and Public Wealth, since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century,' a useful supplement to the invaluable record of George Richardson Porter [q. v.], which had been completed in 1851. It was followed up in 1881 by 'The Balance Sheet of the World, 1870-80,' and in 1883 by his 'Dictionary of Statistics,' a standard work of reference (revised editions, 1886, 1892, 1899). Few modern compilations have been more extensively used or abused. Mulhall has been charged with guess-work, but unfairly; for although some of his data are far from being as trustworthy as could be desired, his deductions are all carefully worked out, and the whole volume was most carefully printed, owing to the indefatigable zeal of his proof-corrector, Marion Mulhall (born Murphy), whom he had married at Buenos Ayres in 1878, and to whom he dedicated his chief work. Mulhall further issued a ‘History of Prices since 1850’ (1885), ‘Fifty Years of National Progress’ (1887), ‘Industries and Wealth of Nations’ (1896), and ‘National Progress in the Queen's Reign’ (1897). In 1896, at the instance of the Hon. Horace Plunkett, he travelled extensively in Western Europe, collecting material for the recess committee's report upon the prospect of a department of agriculture for Ireland. Mulhall, who was cameriere segreto of the pope (who sent him his blessing in articulo mortis), died at Kelliney Park, Dublin, on 13 Dec. 1900. He was buried at Glasnevin cemetery, beside his only child who had died at Buenos Ayres in 1886. He is survived by his widow, the writer of a valuable book of travel, ‘Between the Amazon and the Andes’ (1881), for which she received a diploma from the Italian government.

[Times, 14 Dec. 1900; Tablet, 22 Dec. 1900; Illustrated London News, 22 Dec. 1900 (portrait); Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. Suppl.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; private information.]

T. S.